NEW YORK—Officials from the Hawks, Celtics, and Heat expressed interest in Shaquille O'Neal as a person Wednesday, confirming league rumors that they believed the free agent center would be highly suitable for a long-term friendship. "We have made contact with Shaq's camp and have told his people that we would love for him to meet with us, and just hang out and stuff," said Atlanta Hawks president Bob Williams, adding that he was impressed with O'Neal's passion and the sense of humor he displayed in Cleveland. "Our scouts feel that even after all these years, Shaq can still contribute in small ways, especially at parties and informal get-togethers. Say what you want about him, but he's the kind of guy you want to call up and watch a basketball game with." O'Neill told reporters he's ready to make a commitment to friendship for $8 million per year.

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